Often criticised for not being able to provide essential health services in rural areas

due to lack of doctors, Orissa government today said they have appointed as many as 408 assistant surgeons recently.

Most of the newly recruited doctors were posted in tribal dominated districts, said Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya.

Out of the state's total doctors strength, about 1200 posts were laying vacant at different places, mostly in Maoist affected tribal areas.

While the highest number of 48 assistant surgeons were posted in Keonjhar district, 45 were deployed in Mayurbhanj district followed by 40 in riot-hit Kandhamal district, 31 each in Koraput, Kalahandi and Nawrangpur districts, he said.

Thirty doctors were appointed in Balangir district.

Similarly, while 28 fresh doctors were appointed in Sundargarh district, 26 were given appointments in different hospitals in Malkangiri district, he added.